“If the universe is meaningless, so is the assertion that it’s so,” Alan Watts wrote as he contemplated our seek for which means. “The which means and function of dancing is the dance.”
It’s a fertile metaphor, for the way in which we transfer via the world — and the way we transfer the world via the thoughts — shapes our whole expertise of it. Out of this existential choreography, which we carry out 1,000,000 occasions a day in 1,000,000 unconscious methods, arises our notion of actuality.
The metaphor comes alive with unusual vitality in The Choreography of On a regular basis Life (public library) by choreographer Annie-B Parson, who has formed dwelling artworks by cultural icons starting from David Bowie and David Byrne to Mikhail Baryshnikov and the Martha Graham Dance Firm.
Studying the Odyssey as a type of secular theology and reckoning with Tik-Tok as the people artwork type of our time, she turns a cautious eye to our menacing pandemic of selfing, observing the self-made nook into which we’ve got punished ourselves:
Social media varieties are performative solo varieties with an odd conflation of friendship and advertising and marketing; the physique is alone in a room performing the self, with an undercurrent of need for applause. With no city sq. to assemble in and hash out the day with neighbors, social media communications have a shading of loneliness beneath.
The way in which out, she intimates, is motion — a motion of the spirit that mirrors the motion of our bodies towards the togetherness of the city sq., the place the place generative change takes place, for all creativity — which is the antidote to loneliness — is a type of dance we carry out not in isolation however with the world:
The broad shot is the digital camera place that permits the viewers to see the total physique of everybody within the scene of their surroundings, it’s probably the most goal and doubtlessly probably the most compositional of digital camera positions, and for very temporary moments I can understand our broad shot: that we expertise contentment, then we undergo, we slog via what we deem uninteresting, we get impressed, we see issues, we miss issues, we journey or fall or slowly crumble, we stand up, we combat, we reconnect, after which in despair or fascination or simply reflexively, we write about it.
And this need to articulate what you are feeling and understand, to inform it, to call it, to explain it, that is as pure because the development from strolling to working to leaping, to shaping that leap right into a sample of leaps, after which a bunch of leapers in unison — right into a dance.
And if I am going into the acute broad shot, I can see a generative duality between us and the world, a reciprocity between us perceiving the world collectively via artwork, and the world in flip studying us via what we make. On this mirror construction, I can think about the artistic act as world-actualization fairly than self-actualization, that what we make turns into part of nature’s generative system.
Couple this fragment of The Choreography of On a regular basis Life with Zadie Smith on what writers can study from the nice dancers, then revisit Helen Keller, upon visiting Martha Graham’s studio, on how dance is like thought.